Lloyd Austin Purging Trump's Last-Minute Pentagon Appointments

Pentagon suspends work of advisory boards, asks hundreds of appointees to step down

Austin, an inductee into Executive Mosaic's Wash100 for 2021, signed a January 30 memo directing the interim director of administration and management to lead the zero-based review in consultation with DOD's acting general counsel and submit final recommendations on each committee by June 1, the Pentagon said Tuesday. "I also direct, no later than February 16, 2021, the conclusion of service for all DoD advisory committee and subcommittee members now serving on DoD advisory committees where the DoD approving authority is the Secretary of Defense or where a statute authorizes another DoD civilian officer or employee, or Active Duty member of the Armed Services to act as the DoD approving authority".

In early December, Trump sparked outrage when he appointed two of his former top campaign officials, Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie, to the Defense Business Board.

The secretary's move boots Trump loyalists who were appointed to the boards at the last minute.

"I am directing a zero-based review of all DoD advisory committees, to include any advisory committee that is not subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA)", the memo reads.

The secretary has also ordered the "conclusion of service" for most advisory board members. Defense officials said it's unclear how many were asked to resign but the number "will be in the hundreds", according to the Associated Press.


This story was first published on CNN.com, "Defense Secretary dismisses hundreds of members of Pentagon advisory boards including late Trump picks". "He believes that this review is going to allow him to take a better, deeper look at that and to make sure that the advisory committees are in fact providing the best possible advice, as is their goal".

"The secretary was deeply concerned with the pace and the extent of recent changes to memberships of department advisory committees", Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby told the Post. Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., who served as Miller's chief of staff and was accused of blocking Pentagon officials from assisting the presidential transition, said his appointment said was blocked as well, according to Politico. The move blocked the appointees from receiving security clearances and being added to the boards.

That means that the upcoming review and resignations will not impact Sean Spicer, Trump's former White House spokesman, who was named in 2019 to the U.S. Naval Academy's Board of Visitors, nor Kellyanne Conway, who was named to serve on the U.S. Air Force Academy's Board of Visitors.

Austin plans to announce new appointees for the boards in the coming weeks, according to the report. The panel hasn't started its work yet, but will be responsible for figuring out how to go about renaming military bases and property that honor Confederate leaders. "I hope Austin breathes new life into these boards by appointing a truly diverse group of people".

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